Six of the top 11 players remaining on our spring 2012 Top 25 Islanders Under 25 countdown are from the 2008 draft class, a cohort that has steadily moved its way from juniors/NCAA/Europe to the AHL (except for that precocious kid who skipped a grade) and now increasingly to the NHL.
Once passed over, Matt Martin is a year older than most of his '08 classmates, so with 153 NHL games he's second in the cohort to Josh Bailey's 291. (Travis Hamonic is third, with 135.) It's likely -- or at least hoped -- that he will be passed on this list as other younger, higher ceiling talent in the pipeline matures. But right now he's established himself as an NHLer and one who has a defined role for the foreseeable future.
In our postseason report card for Martin, we discussed some of the reasons -- including his progress and impressive restraint while reaching the NHL hits record. Below are the ballots that landed him at #9 on our 25U25 list.
How We Voted
This one was a good example of where potential and established NHL achievement run against each other on our 25U25. As explained in the footer of these posts, some of us weigh future potential, ceiling and role higher, while some of us weigh our votes more toward who can step in as (or already is) an effective NHLer today.
As mentioned above, though a little more improvement can be expected, Martin already is about what he should be as an NHLer: A bruising fourth-line type who can play up a line and occasionally provide size, physicality and even a net presence on higher lines to mix things up for a shift or two.
As more under-25 players start to reach their potential as NHL regulars, they should end up pushing Martin down this list, but not off the roster.
Panelists: CanadianIslesLifer making a return appearance, as well as most of the authors at LHH.
Note: For those LHH readers who sent their own selections in, JPinVA has them summarized in this FanPost. That one will be fun to measure against our panelists' results.
Related Links You'll See with Each 25U25 Post
You can see which other prospects just missed our top 25 in this preview post.
- At #25 was 2011 pick John Persson
- #24 saw another Swede from 2011, Johan Sundstrom
- At #23, the irritant known as Justin DiBenedetto
- #22: Kirill Petrov, with an asterisk
- #21: Brenden Kichton, Western late bloomer
- #20: Anders Lee, loophole guy?
- #19: Big Scott Mayfield
- #18: Rhett Rakshani, Queen of Funk
- #17: Aaron Ness, Mini-Me Rising
- #16: Anders Nilsson, Towering Thor
- #15: Kirill Kabanov, now a Proven Winner(TM)
- #14: Nino Niederreiter, historic rookie year
- #13: Calvin de Haan, please don't break
- #12: Brock Nelson hits the pro scene
- #11: David Ullstrom, Swede the Elder
- #10: Kevin Poulin, goalie with attitude
- Our September 2011 25U25 Poll Results
To reflect the variety of ways you can place value on prospects with uncertain futures, we brought a range of philosophies to this poll, which ranks all Islanders (prospect or pro) under age 25: Some voters valued present talent/maturity more, some valued future potential more. All are averaged with the intent of capturing a moment in time in the evolution of the Islanders prospect pipeline.